SUDAN WATCH: Central Sudan: Demarcation of Abyei boundary will start in September - North-South border committee findings due in September

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Central Sudan: Demarcation of Abyei boundary will start in September - North-South border committee findings due in September

Today, Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kual confirmed that demarcation of the Abyei boundary will take place on the ground in September under the supervision of a panel of international experts:
"There will be surveyors: two from the SPLM, two from the National Congress and the Government of National Unity together with international experts. The American government will send its experts and they will go on the ground and survey the area and this will happen in September.
A permanent Administration for Abyei area will be formed in order to run the affairs of the Abyei area over the coming eighteen months in order to prepare the people of Abyei for a special referendum in which the people of Abyei will decide whether they belong to Bahr el-Ghazal or to Southern Kordofan."
The ruling of the Abyei tribunal in The Hague was only to determine the boundaries of nine Ng’ok Dinka chiefdoms in Abyei and not the south-north boundary.  There is already a north-south committee to discuss and to demarcate the north-south border. It’s that body that will determine the boundary of the north-south border.  The north-south border committee is expected to present its findings in September this year.

Source: Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday, 28 July 2009.  Full story:
PCA: A Win-Win Decision Says Deng Alor
(Khartoum) – The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Alor Kual, has confirmed that the demarcation of the Abyei boundary will start in September under the supervision of a panel of international experts.

Speaking in Khartoum on Monday, Alor, who is also a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, said that although the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling was a “win-win” decision, the Dinka Ngok had lost part of their land to the Misseriya Arabs. The SPLM accepted the verdict in order to avert a return to war between southern and northern Sudan.

[Deng Alor Kual]: “The court’s decision was a success and the decision has no winner or loser, it is a “win-win” situation. We have lost some parts [of the land] but we are committed to this decision and next September demarcation will take place on the ground in Abyei. There will be surveyors: two from the SPLM, two from the National Congress and the Government of National Unity together with international experts. The American government will send its experts and they will go on the ground and survey the area and this will happen in September”.

Alor announced that a permanent Administration for Abyei area will be formed in order to run the affairs of the Abyei area over the coming eighteen months in order to prepare the people of Abyei for a special referendum in which the people of Abyei will decide whether they belong to Bahr el-Ghazal or to Southern Kordofan.

Alor declared that the Dinka Ngok will respect the PCA verdict and will allow the Misseriya to cross the Dinka Ngok area, taking their cattle in search of grazing and watering, but they should respect the border.

[Deng Alor Kual]: “The common people have no problem, the problem is the politicians. We have no problem with the Misseriya, they will pass through Abyei and will continue to travel with their cows. Nobody will prevent them but they must know that there is a border. There was a rumor that the area of Deng Alor had fallen under the jurisdiction of the north and some newspapers reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was now a northern Sudanese and I told them there is no problem, all this time I have been a northerner [laughter….] and up to now northern Sudan and southern Sudan are one country until the time comes for the referendum.”

Alor is urging southern Sudanese in northern Sudan to return home before the 2011 referendum.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol

Photo: Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol talks following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, not pictured at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Nov. 02, 2008. The Egyptian Presidency logo is at background. Source: AP/Amr Nabil/Yahoo/Sudan Watch archives Nov. 29, 2008 - Qatari Peace Bid: UN, EU, AU, AL, UK, US & France support the joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur led by Qatar & Sudan People's Forum)
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Biong On Boundaries and the North-South Committee
From Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday, 28 July 2009:
(Juba) – A senior SPLM member says the ruling of the Abyei tribunal in The Hague was only to determine the boundaries of nine Ng’ok Dinka chiefdoms in Abyei and not the south-north boundary.

The GOSS Minister for Presidential Affairs, Luka Biong, spoke to Sudan Radio Service by phone from Juba on Tuesday. Biong was in the SPLM delegation that went to The Hague for the announcement of the court.

[Luke Biong]: “I think the most important thing that people should know is that the court or the Abyei tribunal has no mandate to discuss the issue about the south-north border. It was only mandated to define the nine Ng’ok chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan from Bahr el-Ghazal in 1905. It has no mandate to determine the borders between the south and north. There is already a north-south committee to discuss and to demarcate the north-south border. It’s that body that will determine the boundary of the north-south border. I think those people who are claiming now that Heglig is part of the north are absolutely mistaken and these are the people who are trying to trigger unnecessary conflict because there are very important documents with the committee and we should be waiting for the committee to establish the location of the Heglig area. I think people should also know that there are many oil fields that are now considered as part of the north. We are saying, let us wait for the north-south border committee report. Any attempt to claim any area at this particular point will be tantamount to spoiling peace, creating tension and conflict which we should avoid.”

Biong said that the north-south border committee is expected to present its findings in September this year.

[Luka Biong]: “The north-south committee is one of the committees that is provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The committee went to work immediately after the formation of the interim period between the 1st January 2005 and July 2009. So it is established already. We are expecting the committee to come with a report by September this year, that’s why we say that we should be waiting for the report of the committee.”

Biong went on to explain the issue of who will be eligible to vote in referendum for Abyei.

[Luka Biong –Eng]: “A very fundamental issue people should know is that in the Abyei area, although predominantly Ng’ok Dinka, maybe there are other Sudanese who settled a long time ago in the Abyei area. And these are the people who may vote with the people of Abyei when they are deciding whether they want to join the south or to remain in the north. So it is not open to anybody, it is exactly like southern Sudan, there will be a referendum and we have defined who is a southern Sudanese and who is going to be eligible to vote in the referendum for the right to self-determination. It is defined in article 9 of the constitution of southern Sudan that those who will be voting are the indigenous communities of southern Sudan. If you are from one of these communities of southern Sudan, you are entitled to vote. It is exactly the same for the Abyei area, only the nine Ng’ok chiefdoms and the citizens, that is the people of Ng’ok, are the ones going to vote and any other citizen that has been residing in the area based on the criteria to be developed by what we call the Abyei referendum commission. This commission is going to set the criteria for the other residents that will be able to vote in the referendum.”

That was the GOSS Minister for Presidential Affairs, Luka Biong, speaking to Sudan Radio Service on Tuesday
Click on Abyei label here below for related reports and latest updates.

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